Genome sequencing: Covid samples from Uttar Pradesh to be sent to Delhi

Health officials say this is being done to avoid wastage of kits that test a fixed number of Covid samples, while the need at present is to test less of them
Genome sequencing is being recommended keeping in view the new Covid variant Omicron that has been reported in several countries and some Indian states. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )
Genome sequencing is being recommended keeping in view the new Covid variant Omicron that has been reported in several countries and some Indian states. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE )
Published on Dec 16, 2021 10:24 PM IST
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ByGaurav Saigal, Lucknow

Covid samples for genome sequencing from Uttar Pradesh will now be sent to New Delhi to avoid wastage of testing kits.

Health officials say this is being done to avoid wastage of kits that test a fixed number of samples, while the need at present is to test less of them.

“One kit has the capacity to test 96 samples at a time. This means if less samples are tested, the remaining vials go waste. Hence, at present, samples are being sent to the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in New Delhi,” said Dr Ved Vrat Singh, director general medical health, Uttar Pradesh.

The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) lab in Lucknow that has INSACOG lab can test up to 96 samples for genome testing in one go and it costs around 2.5 lakh.

Indian Sars-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium or INSACOG is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network to monitor genomic variations in SARS-CoV-2 by a sentinel sequencing effort. Not all labs can conduct genome sequencing unless they are in the consortium.

The first batch of 22 samples was tested at the NBRI lab. The decision to send samples to Delhi was taken for the second batch, said Dr Singh. If the samples increase, tests will be done in Lucknow only, he said.

Genome sequencing is being recommended keeping in view the new Covid variant Omicron that has been reported in several countries and some Indian states. Travellers from other countries, including those marked as ‘at risk’, are coming to India and also Uttar Pradesh.

“Since we are getting less daily Covid cases in the state at present, hence we plan the genome sequencing for all,” said Dr Singh.

“We are ready to conduct genome sequencing as and when demanded,” said NBRI director Dr SK Barik.

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